The Qatar Fintech Hub, developed by Qatar Development Bank, has partnered with The International Trade Centre’s (ITC) SheTrades Initiative, and Visa, a leader in digital payments, and Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH) to support youth and women entrepreneurs in Kuwait and Qatar.

As per the press release, the program ” Small Steps to Success” will have a curriculum for entrepreneurial development, digitalization, innovation and soft skills tailored to women. It will also offer Peer to peer sessions, and empower female entrepreneurs by engaging with financial instituations.

Youth and women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an increasingly important role in the economy of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, as 53% of young Arabs in the region plan to start their own business within the next five years, as revealed in results of the 15th ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey. And in 2020, McKinsey forecasted that within a decade, the proportion of women in the Middle East in professional and technical roles will more than double due to digitalization and entrepreneurship.

In this context, ITC SheTrades and Visa are scaling their efforts in Qatar and Kuwait to position youth and women entrepreneurs at the forefront of economic growth and innovation in the GCC. 

In Qatar, Visa and ITC will be collaborating with the Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH), the specialized FinTech Incubator and Accelerator program by Qatar Development Bank to empower early-stage entrepreneurs and FinTech startups.

Dr. Hamad Salem Mejegheer, Qatar Development Bank, Executive Director​ of Advisory & Incubation, said the initiative falls in line with the bank’s longtime efforts to propel entrepreneurs to success. “This initiative is in line with QDB’s vision of fostering innovation and developing a collaborative ecosystem that nurtures creative ventures to position Qatar as a leading global and regional fintech hub. Through the cultivation of a robust digital economy, we contribute to advancing the objectives of the Third National Development Strategy and Qatar’s economic diversification efforts.”

Shashank Singh, Visa’s VP and General Manager for Qatar and Kuwait stated: “Through this partnership, we will help equip more women and young entrepreneurs in Qatar and Kuwait the skills and network they need thrive in the digital economy. Our collaborative efforts with ITC and QDB are an embodiment of our belief in the transformative power of digital inclusion and its potential to create a ripple effect of growth and opportunity for everyone, everywhere.”

ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said: “We’re strengthening our partnership with Visa to see more women and youth drive innovation and sustainability in Qatar and Kuwait. From online business courses to networking and financing opportunities, we’re taking a holistic and tailored approach to delivering the support they need.”

Applications are now open. Selected participants will receive support in identifying key challenges and opportunities to grow their business and will gain access to an e-learning package covering topics such as e-commerce strategies, sustainable business practices and financial readiness. These courses are designed to lay a foundation for entrepreneurs to further develop their businesses.